Nike Missile Restoration Project
Nike Missile Site BA-79 Restoration Project
BA-79 was an anti-aircraft missile site located 30 miles northwest of Baltimore and tasked with defending the city from long-range, nuclear-armed Soviet bombers. It was part of a network of Nike sites designed to protect major cities and strategic sites around the country. Construction of the site began in 1954 with first generation Ajax missiles arriving by 1956. Within a few years, longer-range, 2nd-generation Hercules missiles were added to the arsenal, eventually replacing the Ajax missiles. Hercules missiles were able to carry a much larger payload allowing them to be outfitted with a nuclear warhead. The site was originally operated by the regular U.S. Army, but the Maryland Army National Guard assumed operations of the Ajax battery when the Hercules arrived and, by the mid-60s, were in charge of the nuclear-tipped Hercules missiles. The site was only operational for 20 years before their mission became obsolete with Soviet ICBMs becoming the major nuclear threat to the United States.
Civil Air Patrol, Maryland Wing Headquarters leases the site from the State of Maryland and, as part of the lease, is required to maintain the site. While this mainly means maintaining the administrative buildings, members of the wing decided to go the extra mile to preserve and restore the launch area, to include the magazines, Missile Assembly Building, Warhead Assembly Building, and Generator Building.
Restoration efforts began in 2018 with the clearing of the vegetation that had built up over the years and the repainting of the remaining above-ground structures. The six magazines were pumped dry with two of them being restored for public viewing. As of 2023, restoration efforts continue with work on stabilizing the asphalt around the magazines and creating informational displays a top priority.
The project lead is CMSgt (retired) Tom Reed, a member of the Granite Cadet Squadron which meets at the site and is leading the restoration efforts.
If you are interested in volunteering to help restore BA-79, please contact Chief Reed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Volunteer to help with the restoration
Granite Cadet Squadron is a supporter of Maryland Wing's Nike Missile Site restoration project. The Granite Nike Site, BA-79, is reflected in the unit's identifying number, MAR-MD-879 and name. Our members and families are regular volunteers with the site restoration. The project lead is CMSgt Tom Reed, a member of the squadron.
Workdays are usually the third Saturday of each month from 9:00 a.m. until at least noon. For more information contact CMSgt Reed at email@example.com
You can donate towards the restoration project with the below PayPal link or mail a check (payable to Civil Air Patrol) to Maryland Wing HQs, ATTN: Nike Site Restoration, 3085 Hernwood Road, Woodstock, MD 21163. Please indicate "Nike Site" on your check so your donations will be designated to support the restoration project.
Your donation to the Nike missile site restoration project
will help preserve a piece of Maryland’s aerospace history.
Just $25 will help preserve the asphalt around the magazines with the purchase of pavement sealer.
Just $50 will help tell the story of the site with the purcahse of displays and informative signs around the site.
Your gift of $100 will help return more of the site back to what it looked like int he mid-1960s through purchases of materials to repaint the Missile Assembly and Generator buildings.
Consider helping today – either with your monetary donation or with your time – both are needed!
If you are interested in helping preserve a little piece of Cold War history or have other questions, please contact CMSgt Tom Reed (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Tours of BA-79
Our goal is to open up the site to the public on the fourth Sunday of each month beginning in April 2023. Between now and then private tours of the site are available by contacting CMSgt Tom Reed email@example.com. Tours are limited based on personnel availability with tour numbers limited to between 6 and 20 people. The tours are free, but donations are gladly accepted.
Note: The underground magazines are not handicapped-accessible at this time. All above ground portions of the site are accessible to all during tours.
BA-79 Restoration in the News!
Civil Air Patrol National Historical Journal (Jan - June 2021)
"Not in my backyard: Nike missiles in rural Maryland" by Lt. Col. Brenda Reed (pages 30-34)
"Cold War history in the backyard" by Lt. Col. Brenda Reed (pages 35-41)
History of the Maryland Wing Headquarters
History of Nike Missile Base BA-79 (home of Maryland Wing HQs)
Nike Missile Site BA-79: Then and Now (a Maryland Wing webinar on the history and preservation efforts for MDWG headquarters)